Utah women should be indignant or, at the very least, in despair. The latest census figures place our state in the top five of those with the biggest wage gaps between men and women, who earn 70 cents on the dollar. There are a couple of reasons: First, women tend to go into “helping” professions; second, fewer earn bachelor’s degrees than in any other state. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Deseret News headlined a story on the wage gap this way: “Do women really want ‘better’ jobs?” The issue is complicated, and the story itself never answered the question. Women are put off, it said, by male-centric careers; they want to focus on family or they choose jobs that fit their passion. Still, they are paid less and aren’t encouraged to seek higher education. Meanwhile, women are subjected to commercials that tout a new pen for women: “Bic for Her.”
Brett Tolman, former U.S. Attorney for Utah, has the right idea about prison. He suggests that federal mandatory-minimum sentences are locking up small-time offenders and overcrowding prisons. The Sentencing Project notes that life sentences have quadrupled since 1984, and 50,000 prisoners aren’t eligible for parole. Utah, meanwhile, was ranked second in the nation for the percentage of inmates looking at life in prison. With overcrowding and outsourcing prisons, it makes sense to have that hard discussion about incarceration, rehabilitation and the how prisons serve the need to punish and keep the public safe.
What a surprise that the Sutherland Institute Center for Self-Government in the West would come out with a report seeking self-government in the West. The predictable report says there are just too many federal regulations concerning oil and gas production on public lands. You know how Utah wants to take control of its federal lands—well, this is another chapter in that effort. No doubt the state—or, more realistically, businesses—are missing out on jobs and profits from fossil-fuel exploration, but at risk is the loss of unsurpassed scenic beauty and habitat. The good news is the School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration has reconsidered its deal to drill on the Book Cliffs—at least for now. If you think there ought to be a law, there ought to. SITLA needs to consider more than money in administering lands for Utah students.